1. Dow set to rise even as millions more jobless claims are expected
Dow futures were pointing to an over 250-point gain at Thursday’s open. Wall Street seems to be more focused on the benefits of states starting to reopen their economies, such as rising U.S. oil prices on increased demand, than the continuing coronavirus-driven surge in weekly jobless claims.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 closed nearly 1% lower Wednesday, giving up earlier session gains and breaking two-day winning streaks. The Nasdaq, powered by strength in tech stocks, closed up 0.7%, logging three days of gains and climbing to 10% away from February’s record high. If Thursday’s projected advance were to hold, the Nasdaq would near breakeven for the year.
Shares of Moderna surged about 13% in Thursday’s premarket after the biotech said it received clearance by the Food and Drug Administration to proceed with phase 2 of its testing of a possible coronavirus vaccine. Moderna is finalizing the protocol for phase 3, which is expected to begin in early summer.
2. Over 33 million filings for unemployment benefits seen in seven weeks
Economists expect 3.05 million more Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week, which would bring the rolling coronavirus seven-week total to more than 33 million. The Labor Department is set to release its latest weekly data at 8:30 a.m. ET, one hour before the stock market opens.
The ADP’s private sector payroll data Wednesday found that over 20 million jobs were lost in April, and Friday’s government employment report for the month is expected to show a million more than that. The nation’s unemployment rate is seen skyrocketing to 16% last month as pandemic shutdowns continued longer than expected and companies make tough choices about trimming their work forces, even before they try to resume more normal activity.
3. Trump administration holds off on releasing a CDC reopening guide for local leaders
A general view of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Edward R. Roybal campus in Atlanta, Georgia on April 23, 2020.
Tami Chappell | AFP | Getty Images
A set of detailed documents created by the nation’s top infectious disease investigators meant to give step-by-step advice to local leaders deciding when and how to reopen public places such as mass transit, day-care centers and restaurants has been shelved by the Trump administration. The 17-page report by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team, titled “Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework,” was supposed to be published last Friday, according to The Associated Press. CDC scientists were told the guidance “would never see the light of day,” a CDC official told the AP. The White House has been aiming to closely control the release of guidance and information during the pandemic.
4. UnitedHealth commits $1.5 billion for premium rebates and new cost-sharing waivers
The nation’s largest health insurer is providing $1.5 billion in direct financial relief for its customers in the form of premium rebates for consumers on individual and small group employer plans as well as cost-sharing waivers for seniors on its Medicare Advantage plans. UnitedHealth members will receive a 5% to 20% premium credit on their June billing statements. As of March 31, the company’s fully insured enrollment was just over 8.2 million members. Health insurers have seen an overall drop in medical costs due to the coronavirus sidelining nonessential care, which could result in record premium rebates for 2020, under the Affordable Care Act.
5. Most new coronavirus hospitalizations in New York are people who had been staying home
Most new Covid-19 hospitalizations in New York state are people who were staying home and not venturing much outside, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The preliminary data was from 100 New York hospitals involving about 1,000 patients, Cuomo said at his daily briefing Wednesday. It shows that 66% of new admissions were from people who had largely been sheltering at home. The next highest source of admissions was from nursing homes at 18%.
Who is Getting Hospitlized?
Source: New York State
More than a quarter of the 1.2 million people infected in the U.S. are in New York, the state with the most cases by far. Over a third of America’s 73,431 deaths are in New York. Global cases are approaching 3.8 million with 264,109 deaths.